Charles Leclerc has beaten Sebastian Vettel to pole position in qualifying for the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix. Mercedes start third and fourth.
If you saw qualifying for the opening Grand Prix of this 2019 F1 season in Australia, you probably thought Mercedes are a miles ahead of Ferrari and Hamilton miles ahead of Bottas.
The race itself probably made you decide that Bottas can be as good as Hamilton on his day, but that Mercedes we so superior it looks like the 2019 F1 season could be a one horse race already.
But qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend has turned expectations of Mercedes’ on their head, with both Mercedes cars struggling against the Ferraris, and the Ferrari of relative rookie Charles Lecleerc soundly beating now veteran driver Sebastian Vettel to pole position. So it’s a Ferrari front row in Bahrain, but not one Vettel will welcome.
Behind the Ferrari front row it’s a Mercedes one with Hamilton and Bottas in third and fourth, Vertsappen in fifth for Red Bull, Magnussen for Haas in sixth, Sainz in seventh for McLaren, Grosjean in the second Haas in eighth. Raikkonen in the Alfa in ninth and Lando Norris in the second McLaren in tenth. So both McLarens in the top ten and in with a chance of points.
Although it’s a better outing for McLaren than we’ve seen much in recent years, Williams are deep in it with both cars at the back of the grid – more than 1.5 seconds off the pace of Lance Stroll in 18th.